Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Good Friends, Road Tips, and Steelhead

One of my goals for 2012 is to fly fish in 10 different states. With Steelhead season in full swing, what better time to start than now. So, Leland and I met up at 2:30 Sunday morning to make the 6 to 7 hour drive to Cleavland Ohio.

Looking down off the bridge into a slush-filled river had our hopes of an easy, enjoyable day just about gone. Fighting slush and shelf ice all day kept the hook up rate low. But hey that's steelhead fishing. Days when the conditions are less than ideal and the fishing is all but hot really make you cherish and enjoy holding every fish you get to hand. The Chagrin River outside of Cleavland is an awesome river. What it lacked in fish, it made up for in scenery. From the reports and pictures I've seen from friends and the internet, when the conditions are right it can produce some beautiful fish. 

Leaving Chagrin Falls OH, we headed for Conneaut OH to try out the Conneaut River or the Conny as many call it. Standing on a bridge looking down, we saw a very familiar sight; slush and shelf ice. Not wanting to waste any time, I got on the phone to check the reports and get some inside advice. This led us to Elk Creek in PA.

The fishing was slow but it was nice to have the whole river to ourselves. We managed to hook 4 fish, but only landed just one. You can tell when you have a good friend when he goes swimming just to save your fish from breaking off... 

Leland had the net in had ready to scoop my Steelhead, when all the sudden she turned and went right between his feet. He knew it would either lift and jump back or it was all over. He jumped backwards and into the frigid water. I saw him go down--luckily the fish was running down stream, so I lifted the rod as high as I could, I grabbed him and lifted him up so he could get his footing back (saving him from a full wader shot). The fish started upstream and I was back in full fish-fight concentration. Then, as if falling in weren't bad enough, she decided to test us once more; under the shelf ice she went! I could see her flopping around trying every trick to get off, I lowered my rod tip and guided her out, and into the net. Thanks Buddy!


Leland rigging & battling slush

Breaking ice as the train rolls by

After 2 days of hard fishing!


Driving to the river 

Conneaut River

Lunch on the Ice

A beauty 

Also A big Thank You to Greg Senyo from Steelhead Alley Outfitters. Thanks man for all the help and Directions!!!

Flies that Worked: Prince Nymph, Psycho Prince (Black), Hot Beadhead Prince, Black Marabou Streamer

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